STI tracks Wall Street to dip 1% on rising rate worries

The Singapore Exchange Centre on Shenton Way.
The Singapore Exchange Centre on Shenton Way.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES, AFP, REUTERS) - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended Friday 28.21 points or 0.97 per cent lower at 2,880.64, culminating in a 1.5 per cent drop over the entire trading week.

Some 2.8 billion securities worth S$1.37 billion changed hands, as losers outnumbered gainers 261 to 202.

This tracked a dip in US stocks on Thursday after Treasury yields edged higher as investors assessed how rising borrowing costs could impact the equity rally.

A note from Phillip Securities also described US investors as being discouraged by a worse-than-expected jobless claims reading as well as a weak forecast from Walmart.

Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi, said: "Predictably, stocks are becoming more downwardly sensitive to the higher yields."

The biggest loser on the STI was Jardine Matheson, which lost 3.86 per cent to US$49.60. Its price has declined 11.4 per cent since the start of this year, which Bloomberg said has placed it in oversold territory.

The biggest gainer was agribusiness group Wilmar International which added 1.09 per cent to S$5.57. This was amid expectations that palm oil prices will remain elevated in the near term on higher soya bean prices and still-tight palm stockpiles, according to a Feb 10 CGS-CIMB report.

The most active counter of the day was seafood supplier Oceanus Group, as it triggered its second query from the Singapore Exchange Regulation in a month after shares closed 11.9 per cent higher at 7.5 Singapore cents on Friday.

The region finished mixed.

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.72 per cent, also tracking falls on Wall Street and with investors in wait-and-see mode.

But the Hang Seng Index gained 0.16 per cent, though investors remain on guard about the potential for rapid economic recovery to fuel inflation and lead central bankers to raise interest rates earlier than expected. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.57 per cent.

Malaysia's KLCI added 0.58 per cent, while Australian shares had their worst session in three weeks on Friday, falling 1.34 per cent as commodity-linked stocks were dragged down by weaker oil and gold prices.